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The ethics of cloning in the 21st century
Each person has an idea about whether he is adequate or not to clone another human being. The notion of obtaining multiple copies of identical organisms from a genetic point of view, all descendants of a common precedent, creates, in most people, a negative moral reaction. However, once human cloning becomes a scientifically feasible act, it will only be a matter of time.
Actually, on this subject I will focus on the cloning of humans. Regarding animal or plant species, there are few damages that can be mentioned, given that cloning has contributed to the obtaining of identical laboratory animals with each other, to more resistant plants or even avoided the extinction of some species. Of course, it can still be claimed that genetically modifying plants and then cloning them and obtaining millions of copies of a species that was not massively in nature is not correct, but in general they are not critical of the cloning process itself.
Before continuing, we must inform that there are basically two "types" of cloning. We can call a "therapeutic cloning" and the other "reproductive cloning". While both use similar laboratory techniques, the essential difference between both types of cloning is found in the results obtained.
Scientists defend cloning because, in many species, an existing reproduction mechanism in nature. Indeed, there are natural clones, such as identical twins and certain worms with the ability to reproduce similarly when parts in two. Somehow, they say, only sexual reproduction are leaving aside to obtain some benefit in the new individual.
From the journalistic point of view, a spectacular news of the type "The first cloned human being" is much more relevant that "clinical trials show the possibility of healing lupus". The speculation of the media about the scientific advances that involve difficult techniques to understand (such as cloning) can damage the reputation of a skill that could save millions of people.
But despite what people imagine when they hear the word "cloning", the vast majority of the time an experiment of this type does not end with a new living being, but only copies of a few cells are obtained. In general, to be used for medical purposes. This type of cloning, perhaps less known and tolerated, is what we have called "therapeutic cloning", which has proven useful in the treatment of genetic, degenerative and autoimmune diseases, such as Parkinson’s evil, Alzheimer’s disease, fibrosis fibrosis cystic and lupus, among others.
One of the undoubted advantages of cloning is the possibility they provide couples with fertility problems of having a child. Although it is not a standard procedure, much less, there are laboratories and companies (such as Clonaid) that claim to have carried out successful experiences in this field. Leaving aside the discussion about whether these results are true or not, it is undeniable that they are technically possible, or will be shortly.
Another palpable benefit that would bring popularization (and in some cases, legalization) of therapeutic cloning is the end of the failures produced in organ transplants. Through therapeutic cloning, complete organs could be created from a single cell. These organs, being genetically identical to the owner of the cell used as a starting point, would not be rejected by the body to be transplanted. A technique like this would save (literally) dozens of millions of lives a year. It is difficult not to see it as a beneficial.
We must put aside the idea that the clone will be a tracing of the owner of the cell that gave him life. Physically it will be like an identical twin, but mentally it will grow as a person completely independent of the experiences of his "father".
The initial negative reaction of most people in terms of human cloning is of great importance. The philosophical discipline of 2.500 years old called ethical, and the even newer bioethics take into account the emotional responses of human beings normally developed when they try to ask answers to difficult ethical questions. Instinctively, most form the impression that the procreation that results from an expression of love and within the context of a family constitutes something favorable that should be protected. Individuals, in large part, believe that sexual procreation should not be replaced by some laboratory technology.
As a disadvantage, the following reasoning is usually used: “The family is the pillar of society. What happens if we change the way we create babies?"The answer, of course, is simple. Nothing will happen. In the same way that a baby conceived in-vitro is a perfectly normal and accepted baby, which is the result of the cloning of one of his parents will also be.
Consequences for a future
It is true that, if taken to the extreme, reproductive cloning could end genetic diversity. This would occur in the event that we completely abandon sexual reproduction and that all new children come from only a handful of parents who for some reason are more "interesting" than the rest. This would leave us very badly (as race) in the face of a new disease, which could extinguish us because there are no individuals who are casually resistant to it.